Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

Archives filed under "Photography"


Ray Drainville

I have to hold myself back from buying everything in the Tumbao catalogue. Net Sublette, an excellent source, recommends them.

Such fiscal reticence didn’t stop me from immediately snapping up this, though. Recommended in today’s Guardian Guide, Kanaval: Vodou, Politics & Revolution on the Streets of Haiti has some truly amazing photos of unadulterated Carnival costumery. All the photos were taken in the city of Jacmel, destroyed in the recent earthquake.

Republican Talking Point

Ray Drainville

So Obama makes a speech at the University of Cairo (an excellent speech, in fact). You can always control what you say, but you can’t control who attends to your saying it:

Palestinian militants from the Popular Resistance Committee watch the televised speech of US President Barack Obama in Gaza City, Thursday, June 4, 2009.

Click on that link. You’ll not be sorry.


Ray Drainville

Over the Christmas holiday, we had some fairly unusual weather in Sheffield. After a dewy, foggy night, the temperature dipped below freezing—and the area was covered in hoarfrost. It was magical & it was appropriate that we were listening to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.

Whilst my son fell asleep in the car, we went for a drive around the countryside—Loxley (of Robin Hood fame), Ughill & Dungworth (great names, those) and finally Strines (home to a 12th-century pub). Here are some photos I took.

Virtual Reality creation just got a lot less expensive

Ray Drainville

One of ArDes’ specialities is the creation of virtual reality panoramas. But the major problem in producing virtual reality has been the problem of creating, or “stitching” photographs together: while theoretically you could take just two 180° fisheye images & stitch them together, you in fact couldn’t, because a company called Ipix in the US held the patent for stitching together fisheye images — and they didn’t license their patent to any other companies. You could only legally stitch together VR panoramas if you used their own software, which was frankly terrible — the results were awful & they insisted that they owned the rights to your images. Not a good way to do business. Ipix was known as “Ipox” in the vr community for these reasons.

So we all had to limp along with tedious & ridiculous workarounds to produce our panoramas from fisheye lenses — we’d have to take six fisheye images, convert them into wide-angle images (and thereby lose lots of information per image) and stitch them together. This was frustrating (to say the least) because the more photographs you have to take, the more work you’ll have stitching them together — clouds move & change ambient light, and correcting these effects takes up production time. And that costs our clients more.

Well, it looks like Ipix won’t be a problem for any of us any longer — they just filed for bankruptcy. Immediately, Realviz (makers of Stitcher) shipped an update that helps us make VR panoramas directly from — you guessed it — fisheye lenses. This is a boon for us, but even more so it’s a boon for our clients: the barrier-to-entry — the price of production — will now go way down.

Edit: Name changed from “Argument from Design” to “ArDes”